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GDC put pools to top of list

A WATER sports hub for Anzac Park, a three-court indoor facility at Childers Road and the Olympic Pool upgrade are all on a comprehensive community facilities strategy that Gisborne District Council has approved for consultation.

The strategy also includes sports hubs based at Waikirikiri Park and Whakarua Park in Ruatoria.

Other planned sports hubs are at Netball’s Victoria Domain and the Harry Barker Reserve. Rugby Park would be redeveloped as a sports hub for field sports and athletics.

The strategy would establish partnerships for regional public pools, one in the west of the district, one at Kaiti and two on the East Coast, with an annual budget of $60,000.

The council would establish a community facilities relationships and partnerships position and establish a fund for feasibility studies and business cases.

A priority list has the sub-regional pool partnerships as No 1 and the redevelopment of the Olympic Pool as number two.

The ranking order from there is Anzac Park (3), Chiders Road (4), Waikirikiri Park (5) Rugby Park (6), Whakarua Park (7), Victoria Domain (8), and Harry Barker Reserve (9).

The council separately approved a $28 million option for the Olympic Pool.

Whakarua Park is expected to cost $3m-$5m, Childers Road up to $10m, Waikirikiri Park $4m-$7m, Rugby Park $4m-$6m, Victoria Domain $4m and Harry Barker Reserve $2m-$4m.

Wide community consultationMayor Meng Foon said the council had consulted the community widely.

Obviously there were other parties involved, not just the council, but it did need to take a lead role.

Andy Cranston said this was not just a council initiative, it was something that had been requested from funders as well.

“There will be nervousness that it could have associated dollars with it in the future but that is not for this discussion because all the dollars that are connected with it will be parked along to the planning process,” he said.

“This is about strategising a way forward.”

Josh Wharehinga said the strategy was about having a comprehensive plan that encapsulated the entire Tairawhiti region.

Mr Foon acknowledged the work done on the strategy by Cr Cranston and also the community input and the Eastland Community Trust, which wanted the strategy done to give them an indication of what the future funding commitments would be.

This was one of the most comprehensive strategies presented and he acknowledged the work of principal strategy officer Yvette Kinsella and council staff.

The voluntary contribution should also be acknowledged because a lot of people gave up a lot of time.

Graeme Thomson said the community consultation should make it plain that there was a large amount of external funding included in the different projects so that false hopes were not built up. The council was totally extended financially.

The strategy will be part of the public consultation on the 2018-28 long-term plan.

Only $250,000 of the allocated $1.25m capital budget had been spent in the 2018-2019 financial year because of ‘‘continued uncertainty’’ from funding providers and ‘‘reluctance’’ from Sport New Zealand and Sport Gisborne-Tairawhiti to support the current concept, which includes a 50-metre pool. Project manager Robson Timbs said the $250,000 was being spent on design work and a review process. Council director of liveable communities Andrew White said intentions to redevelop the Olympic Pool went back 10 years but more progress had been made in the last two years than the previous eight.